April 2019 Snow in the Record Books

A reminder to all Minnesotans. April showers bring snow plowers! Our latest April snow storm has finally ended and the snow is going fast! The official tally at the MSP Airport from Wednesday to Friday was 9.8" and that makes it the 5th largest April snow storm in recorded history! Interestingly, the latest snow depth report at the MSP Airport on Saturday morning was only 3". With a high sun angle at this time of the year, the snow doesn't stick around long. In fact, most of this stuff should be gone by early next week!


5th Largest April Snow Storm at MSP Airport on Record

The official snow total at the MSP Airport was 9.8", which makes it the 5th largest April snow event at MSP on record! Note that in 2018, we had a record 15.8" during the April 13-16 blizzard! Interestingly, the snow from that storm melted in just 6 days!


10th Snowiest April on Record at MSP So Far...

Our April 10-12 snow event accumulated 9.8" of snow at the MSP Airport, which not only made it the 5th largest April snow event on record, but it also pushed us into the 10th snowiest April on record spot! Note that MSP only averages 2.4" of snow in April, so we are wewll above average!


April 2019 Snowfall So Far...

Thanks to our latest April snow storm, areas of heavy snow fell across the region. Note that some of the heaviest fell across parts of South Dakota, Central MN (including the Twin Cities) and into northern Wisconsin. Quite a few locations have seen double digits tallies, which is well above average!

Snowfall Season To Date
WOW - What a snow season it has been! Despite a fairly lackluster start to the winter season, we sure made up for it in a hurry during the 2nd half of winter and so far this spring. With that said, MSP has now seen 77.1" of snow, which makes it the 11th snowiest season on record!
Nice Sunday Ahead
Sunday will be a much better and certainly much warmer than it was during the 2nd half of last week. Much of the state will warm into the 40s, which will still be nearly -5F to nearly -15F below average, but at least we're headed in the right direction!
Temperature Outlook Ahead
Here's the temperature outlook through the last weekend of April, which suggests warming temps over the next few days with highs in the 60s once again by Tuesday. We may take a bit of a hit during the 2nd half of next week, but we may settle in to a consistent string of near 60F highs as we approach the end of the month.
Weather Outlook
Weather models are hinting at another fairly potent storm system Wednesday - Friday of next week. At this point, it look like it'll be mainly rain, but we can't rule out a little snow somewhere in the Upper Midwest. This storm looks like it could be another wind maker as well, so get ready for another messy week. Stay tuned. 
Heavy Precipitation Potential End of Week
Here's a look at the ECMWF (European) and GFS (American) model outputs for total precipitation through the upcoming week. There's a chance that this next system could bring some fairly widespread 1" to nearly 2" liquid tallies across parts of the southern half of the state. If this verifies, we could be dealing some flood potential and river flooding scenarios once again. Stay tuned.
Signs of Spring!!

Here's a neat map from Journey North, which shows the return our MN State Bird, the Common Loon! Now that lakes are starting to become ice free, the loons are starting to show up! Welcome home friends!! It'll be fun to see you on lakes and ponds this summer.

See more from Journey North HERE:

More Signs of Spring from the MNDNR
This time of the year can be a little dank and dreary at times, but we're not too far away from several signs of life returning to a backyard near you! There's a phenology reporting locating in Maplewood, just north of St. Paul and they record things like the first red-winged blackbird to the first dandelion and even when the lilacs bloom. This phenology location recorded the first "conk-la-ree" from a red-winged blackbird on March 20th this year, which was a few days later than average. By the way, the average bloom date of lilacs in the Twin Cities is typically around May 10th. Last year, lilacs didn't bloom until mid May.
"The songs of the first red-winged blackbirds of the season were heard in north Maplewood on Wednesday, March 20, six days later than the median date of March 14, and on the first day of Spring! Phenology which is derived from the Greek word phaino meaning to show or appear, is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events that are influenced by environmental changes, especially seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation driven by weather and climate. The USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN)  collects phenological data from across the United States. Also track the progress of The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds  as they migrate north. Here is some recent spring phenology for a site in Maplewood just north of St. Paul."

"Phenology Report: April 2, 2019"
Here's the latest Phenology from John Latimer who hails out of Grand Rapids, MN. He shares his latest findings on what is springing up across parts of central/northern MN. 

"Phenology is the biological nature of events as they relate to climate.  Every Tuesday morning, our resident Phenologist John Latimer gathers his phenological data and reports his findings in the weekly Phenology Report. This week, John kept track of some special spring events: the drumming of roughed grouse, killdeer, woodcock, garter snakes, the call of the saw whet out, and the developments on the speckled alder.   Also in this segment is a conversation with special guest and longtime contributor to KAXE-KBXE, retired DNR Biologist Bill Berg."

Listen to the full report from KAXE HERE:


"Megapixels: North Carolina's 'Pollenpocalypse' is nothing to sneeze at—but you will anyway"

"Nuclear fallout? Acid rain? A tacky Instagram filter? Nope—plant sex. Lots and lots of plant sex. On Monday, residents of Durham, North Carolina encountered what some are calling “pollmageddon,” during which an onslaught of greenish-yellow pollen blanketed the area. It covered cars and patios, and even visibly floated through the air. Photographer Jeremy Gilchrist saw the allergy apocalypse from his car and sent up his drone to document it. He posted the eye-watering photos on Facebook, writing, “No tricks here. Yes you are looking at a green haze made up of tree pollen from the pines of central NC!”

See more from Popular Science HERE:


Pollen Levels on the Rise!

AHH CHOO! Oh boy... Spring allergy sufferers are in rough shape right now as pollen levels pick up over the next few days. The worst looks to return Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of potentially steadier rains that could push in late Wednesday - Friday.

Ice Out Dates

We're just beginning ice out season here in MN and according to the MN DNR, there are only a few lakes that are officially ice out across the southern half of the state including a few in the Twin Cities. In fact, Lake Calhoun went out on April 10th, which is only one day later than the average ice out on April 9th. We are still waiting for Lake Minnetonka to be ice free, which typically goes ice free on April 13th.

Average Ice Out Dates

Here's a look at average ice out dates across Minnesota. Note that most lakes around the metro go out in April, so within the next week or 2, you should see open water. However, folks closer to the international border may not see open water until the end of April or early part of May. Spring is on the way!!


Ice Safey Reminder

As we head into the next several weeks, ice stability is going to deteriorate rapidly! Warmer temps will weaken ice on area lakes/ponds, so please be careful! The MN DNR has ice safety reminders that you can review and remember that ice is never 100% safe!

 Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the temperature outlook from April 21st - 27th looks warmer than average across much of the western and southwestern part of the country.
Spring Leaf Anomaly
Here's an interesting map for folks that are looking forward to spring. It's the NPN Spring Leaf Anomaly map, which shows that spring has indeed sprung across the southern tier of the nation. The red colors indicate that spring leaves are actually emerging earlier than average in those areas, while blue colors indicate that we're a little behind average in other spots.

"Spring leaf out continues to spread north. In the west, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in parts of California and Nevada, and 2-3 weeks late in much of Oregon and Washington. In the east, spring leaf out is 1-2 weeks early in the upper Southeast, and 1-2 weeks late across the Great Plains, southern Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Spring leaf out is 4 days late in Boston, MA and Detroit, MI and 2 days early in Madison, WI. Spring bloom has arrived on time to 2 weeks early in much of the South. Nashville, TN is 4 days early. Parts of Arizona, California, Nevada, and the Southern Great Plains are 1-2 weeks late."

Snow Melt Accelerates - Showery Week Ahead
By Paul Douglas
"Sometimes it snows in April. Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad. Sometimes I wish life was never ending. And all good things, they say, never last." Prince's lyrics ring true.
Here in the Masters of Meteorology, MSP just picked up a cool 9.8 inches of snow; the 5th largest April snow storm - the 10th snowiest April - and the 11th snowiest winter since 1872.
Even my snow-loving buddies have thrown up their hands and said "enough already!" It's time for bikes, baseball, bugs and bass. And sun screen. Any day now.
The sun lures the mercury into the 40s today, 50s Monday and 60F is possible Tuesday. Heavy showers and a few T-storms are likely Wednesday & Thursday as a storm tracks south. You'll be happy to hear the risk of snow on Thursday has diminished. We should enjoy 60s next Saturday; the nicer day of the weekend.
My wife keeps reminding me I don't know much, but here's what I suspect. Lawns will green up in the next 10 days, daffodils will sprout, ice comes off the lakes and a lonely grill collecting dust on your deck will get some love!

Extended Forecast

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and cool. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 47.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Winds: NNE 5-10. Low: 34.

MONDAY: Mostly cloudy with an isolated shower. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 52.

TUESDAY: Sunny intervals, feels like spring. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High:62.

WEDNESDAY: Showers likely. Possible T-storms. Winds: E 10-20. Wake-up: 27. High: 62.

THURSDAY: Heavier rain possible. Windy and raw. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 47.

FRIDAY: More clouds than sun. Dying breeze. Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 39. High: 54.

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 40. High: 64.

This Day in Weather History
April 14th

1983: A 'surprise' snowstorm covers east central Minnesota. The Twin Cities receives 13.6 inches, the all-time record for April. Brilliant blue skies and bright sun appear the next morning.

1886: The deadliest tornado in Minnesota's history rips through St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids, leaving 72 people dead. 80 percent of all buildings in Sauk Rapids would be leveled as the tornado's width expanded to 800 yards. As it crossed the Mississippi it knocked down two iron spans of a wagon bridge and local witnesses said the river was 'swept dry' during the tornado crossing. 300,000 dollars damage would occur in Sauk Rapids, only 4,000 dollars of which was insured. The forecast for that day was for local rains and slightly warmer with highs in the 50's.

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
April 14th

Average High: 57F (Record: 89F set in 2003)
Average Low: 37F (Record: 18F set in 1928)

Record Rainfall: 1.56" set in 1983
Record Snowfall: 13.6" set in 1983

Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
April 14th

Sunrise: 6:30am
Sunset: 7:57pm

Hours of Daylight: ~13 hours & 27 minutes

Daylight GAINED since yesterday: ~ 3 minutes & 2 seconds
Daylight GAINED since winter solstice (December 21st): ~4 hours and 42 minutes

Moon Phase for April 14th at Midnight
2.5 Since
 First Quarter Moon

See more from Space HERE:


What's in the Night Sky?

According to EarthSky.org this is what will be visible in the night sky over the next several nights: 

"No matter where you live, these next few mornings are a grand time to look for the elusive planet Mercury. For all of us, around the globe, Mercury is now below Venus – the brightest planet – in the sunrise direction, before daytime washes the pair from view. The morning of April 16, 2019 will present the closest pairing of Mercury and Venus in the morning sky for all of 2019. On that morning, these two worlds will be around 4 degrees (width of two fingers at an arm length) apart on the sky’s dome. They’ll be close enough together to fit (or nearly fit) inside a single binocular field. So if you see Venus, but not Mercury, in the sky before sunrise, try aiming binoculars at Venus to view both planets in a single binocular field. For the Southern Hemisphere, April 2019 showcases the Mercury’s best morning apparition for the year. The planet will be easily visible to the eye alone, below Venus before sunup. For the temperate and polar zones in the Northern Hemisphere, the view of Mercury in the morning sky isn’t as good. The planet is closer to the sunrise. Use binoculars to scan for it along the eastern horizon before sunup. Then remove the binoculars and try to see Mercury with the eye alone."

Average Tornadoes By State in April 
According to NOAA, the number of tornadoes in April really starts to go up across the southern US. Note that several states typically see nearly a dozen tornadoes, while Texas takes the cake with nearly 30. Meanwhile, Minnesota only typically sees 1 tornado during the month of April and the most active month is typically June, when Minnesota typically sees 15.
2019 Preliminary Tornado Count
Here's a look at how many tornadoes there have been across the country so far this year. The preliminary count through April 12th suggests that there have been a total of 204, which is still below the 2005-2015 short term average of 309.

Weather Outlook Sunday
According to NOAA's SPC, there is an ENHANCED risk of severe weather in orange, which means that there is a pretty good chance of severe storms. Damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be the primarty threat in this region, but there is a chance of strong to severe storms from southern New York to the Florida Panhandle.

More Severe Storms Next Week: Wednesday, Thursday & Friday
According to NOAA's SPC, there is already a highlighted risk for severe storms in the shaded yellow areas below. The SPC typically only issues extended severe weather risks this far in advance is severe weather is really a big threat. With that said, keep an eye on latest forecasts as we head into next week!

Weather Outlook Sunday
Here's a look at high temps across the naiton on Sunday, which looks fairly warm in the eastern part of the country, where temps will be nearly +5 to +10F above average. Meanwhile, temps in the central part of the country will still be running below average average after our last major storm system moved through during the 2nd half of last week. 

National Weather Outlook

Here's the weather outlook as we head through the rest of the weekend and into early next week, which shows a fairly potent storm wrapping up across the eastern half of the nation. Strong to severe storms will be possible in the Southeast along with locally heavy rainfall. Meanwhile, another strong Pacific storm will move into the Northwest, which will become another strong storm in the Central US as we head into next week.

7 Day Precipitation Forecast
According to NOAA's WPC, the 7 day precipitation forecast suggests areas of heavy precipitation along and east of the Mississippi River Valley. Some of the most widespread and heavy rainfall could be found in the Lower Mississippi Valley, which could lead to more flooding potential.

"Dust Devil rips roof off building in city park in Fairfield, Calif. while man twirls inside"
"FAIRFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- Crews in the Solano County city of Fairfield are repairing the damage done by a powerful "dust devil" that ripped through a park on Tuesday. A surveillance camera captured the whirlwind as it formed in Alan Witt Park.  The dust devil was so strong that it ripped part of the roof of a building, and sent debris flying everywhere. However, it did not seem to faze one man, who took the opportunity to stand in the middle of the mini-tornado, and twirl right along with it. Officials say the man, nor anyone else in the park was hurt. According to the American Meteorological Society, dust devils are small but vigorous whirlwinds, usually of short duration, but strong enough to cause minor damage. Diameters range from 10 to 100 feet, with an average height of 650 feet. Few have been observed as more than a half mile high."

"U.S. forecaster sees 65 percent chance of weak El Niño in summer"
"There is a 65 percent chance of weak El Niño conditions continuing through the northern hemisphere summer this year, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday. “El Niño continued during March 2019, as above-average sea surface temperatures persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) added in its monthly forecast. The CPC said chances of the weather pattern continuing through the fall season were slightly lower at 50 to 55 percent. Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of weak El Niño conditions continuing through the northern hemisphere spring 2019 at 80 percent. El Niño can affect rainfall and temperature patterns in many regions, with important consequences for agricultural and food security sectors, according to the United Nations World Meteorological Organization."

See more from Reuters HERE:


"How severe drought influences ozone pollution"

"From 2011 to 2015, California experienced its worst drought on record, with a parching combination of high temperatures and low precipitation. Drought conditions can have complicated effects on ozone air quality, so to better understand the process, researchers have analyzed data from two ozone-polluted cities before, during and after the California drought. They report their results in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology. Although ozone in the stratosphere protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation, at ground level the molecule is a harmful air pollutant to humans, animals and plants. Ground-level ozone forms when nitrogen oxide compounds, primarily from motor vehicle emissions, react with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from natural and anthropomorphic sources. Isoprene, a VOC emitted by plants, is a significant contributor to ozone production during summer months in many locations around the world. However, plants also decrease air ozone levels by taking the gas up through pores in their leaves. Because drought conditions affect both of these plant-related processes, Angelique Demetillo, Sally Pusede and colleagues wanted to examine air concentrations of isoprene and ozone—as well as leaf area index, nitrogen dioxide and meteorology—before, during and after the California drought."

See more from Phys.org HERE:


"Two thirds of ice in the Alps will melt by 2100 due to climate change, scientists warn"

"Emissions rising at their current rates will result in almost all of the glaciers in the Alps melting by the end of the century. A recent study has found that half of the ice in the 4,000 Alpine mountain glaciers will have disappeared by 2050 due to a combination of rising temperatures and past pollution. Even if carbon emissions dropped all the way to zero by 2050, researchers still think it would be too late to save the glaciers and estimate that two-thirds of the ice will still have melted by 2100. Losing the glaciers would negatively impact nature, farming, hydroelectricity and tourism in the area. Glaciologist Daniel Farinotti was part of the team who conducted the research. He said: "Glaciers in the European Alps and their recent evolution are some of the clearest indicators of the ongoing changes in climate."

See more from Fox News HERE:

"Storm chaser captures rare upside-down lightning"
"Rare upside-down lightning has been captured in slow-motion footage by a storm chaser. Freak weather in Texas produced the backward lightning flashes, which lasted about half a second in real time but can be seen clearly in the video. Veteran photographer Dan Robinson observed the backward bolts lighting up the sky. Robinson has been traveling to document events like this for the past 26 years and heads into storms on a regular basis to capture this kind of footage. Lightning that travels upward is normally triggered by an initial lightning bolt coming down from the clouds. This initial bolt results in an electrical field change, which causes upward lightning to be triggered from a ground-based object like a building or cell tower."

Thanks for checking in and don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX

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Paul Douglas: Weather mellows, winds ease, 50s return next week

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Temps climb in Minnesota to begin the week - heavy rain for Wednesday and Thursday